The Giver Questions and Answers
by Lois Lowry

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What is the theme statement in The Giver?

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orchidifference eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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When writing a theme sentence, remember that a theme is NOT moral; a theme is instead an expression of the author’s main message about life or the human condition. A theme sentence should not contain proper nouns—if it does, you’re probably writing a main idea sentence, not a theme. A good test if your theme sentence is a true theme, try and apply it to other texts or even movies. For example, a theme for The Giver could be that the preservation of a memory, even those memories that are painful or shameful, is essential for people to leave meaningful, individual lives. This theme applies to The Giver but also movies like Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind and novels like Remains of the Day. One final note about themes: stay away from writing in absolutes because a statement is rarely true for all people. Avoid words like “never,” “none,” “all,” or “always.”

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A theme statement asks you to state what the piece of literature is about; however, it is not a statement about plot. It's a statement about what the story has to say about life, the world, humanity, and so on. The theme statement is generally a one- or two-sentence statement that focuses on a theme of the story. It could be used as the thesis statement for an essay that focuses on analyzing a theme or multiple themes. For The Giver, your first job is to pick a theme that resonates strongly with you, or a theme that you think is prevalent in the novel. I would recommend picking a theme about the importance of memories and the past, choices, or the importance of emotions. The Sameness is a very interesting concept, and I like how it took away much of the population's pain and suffering. Negative emotions were pretty much eradicated. It's a tempting solution; however, I would argue that true happiness can only be felt when it can be compared to true sadness. The Sameness took away that comparison possibility. A theme statement might go something like the following: "Although removing negative emotions from a population has its advantages, it is ultimately an unhealthy way of living."

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Think of a life lesson you can learn from this book.  For example, Jonas learns that differences are to be celebrated, not condemned.  Another theme has to do with choices.  Choice is fundamental to the human condition, and taking away choice is not good for us.

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